Short post, but I had to get something off my chest. I detest Dustin Byfuglien. As hockey players go, he's the scum of the earth. Is this a rivalry thing? Not really. Here's the thing: I believe it is beyond disrespectful to taunt the fans of your opponent when you score. And don't get me wrong. I'm no Don Cherry. Celebrate with your teammates--celebrate flamboyantly, even--but celebrate with your teammates. Don't celebrate as a show for the fans who, with that goal, you deflated and devastated. Don't revel in breaking their hearts. Revel in your success with the others that helped make it possible. I lost any respect I had for Dustin Byfuglien, even as the frustratingly talented nemesis of my team, when he taunted the fans of Vancouver. I was further incensed when he did the same to the fans in Buffalo. I wished all manner of harm upon him.
So it was, with unbridled glee, that I celebrated the news last week that he had been traded, in a massive deal, to the armpit of the hockey world, Atlanta. First of all, being traded apparently sucks, and I always sympathize for the players. But, in this case, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. where he will be expected to replace Ilya Kovalchuk and fail hilariously, be called out for having an albatross of a contract, forced to play with players that are not Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and deal with terrible management. All of these things, in themselves, are wonderful.
But the most wonderful is the karmic factor. Look at these attendance numbers: nobody goes to games in Atlanta. They were third-worst in attendance last year. This year, without Kovalchuk, they are likely to drop a space or two. Byfuglien will be playing in an empty arena. What better justice for a player who systematically disrespects fans who pay to watch him play than to take those fans away. I am giddy.